1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Bow hand pinky (french bow)

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Peder Waern, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Peder Waern

    Peder Waern

    Feb 17, 2009

    Just curious how do you guys hold your right hand pinky. I've noticed some minor pain in mine, probably due to that it's been collapsed wrapped around the stick unlike my other rh fingers which have a nice curve to them. Just recently I tried putting the pinky a little higher up, not quite on top of the stick like a violinist but rather on the "angled" part of the wood towards the frog if that makes any sense... It feels a little unusual to me but seems to resolve the pain issue. The wrist comes in a slightly diffrent angle. I will take a lesson from the principal bass in the philh. here next week ( my first "real" classical lesson)but looking for input here as well :)
  2. Your adjustment sounds correct if all your knuckles and finger shapes line up nicely and your hand angles in slightly towards the stick, throwing your weight forward into your index finger.

    Try lifting your ring finger and pinkie off the stick during down bows and replacing them during up bows as you approach the balance point. It is an experiment to relax your bow hold , draw the sound with the bow and explain the relevance of the role of the pinkie.


  3. wong99


    Jun 6, 2012
    Straight out, just like the queen drinking her tea!
  4. Peder Waern

    Peder Waern

    Feb 17, 2009
    Thanks David, I'll try that. I use my pinky mainly to balance the stick (but got pain mostly from off the string strokes for some reason). The only finger I deliberaty put pressure on is the index finger for playing at the tip and bouncing the bow...
  5. Peder Waern

    Peder Waern

    Feb 17, 2009
    Here's a pic of my bow hold...

    Attached Files:

  6. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    As always... What does your teacher say?

    Try this stuff out-

  7. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    It looks alright from this angle, but perhaps a bit too tight. Your hand should be relaxed on the stick.

    Perhaps your hand / wrist is angled too close to the bass, and this makes your stance look very unnatural. Try putting your bow closer to the bridge when you play, and see how this feels when your wrist and fingers need to move.

    I looked for a picture of me playing with a bow, but I don't think the look of my grip will help you very much as I play seated with a rabbath endpin, and my grip is a little bit odd to begin with.

    Look forward to your lesson, it'll help a lot.

    Edit: I think you should ask your teacher about your stance. The bass looks like it should be taller on you, and it will help your bow hold / everything about bass playing if your stance is more natural.
  8. Peder Waern

    Peder Waern

    Feb 17, 2009
    Thanks for the input. I think its the camera angle that makes it look weirder than it is (taken from a music stand set very low). I have the nut about where my eyes are which I think is pretty standard.. I'm not a newbie at playing bass though, studied jazz bass 5 years at music college and gig/record profesionally on a parttime basis. However I guess you could say I'm new to "correct" bow playing. Yeah will be interrsting to se what the classical guy has to say :)
  9. stkowalski


    Apr 2, 2008
    Your fingers should just be a shelve for the bow. Try not pushing the bow into the string with your first finger. Just remember if it feels relaxed it's ok! Also checkout the YouTube videos of Michael Kilinghoffer, they are awesome!
  10. When I say to turn the bow hold in a few degrees (but only a few degrees) towards the stick it will also enable you to flex your elbow in the same direction as the bow points if it is achieved by rotating the elbow up and out slightly. If you stand in front of your kitchen bench and simulate the bow movement with your hand turned in slightly by drawing your fingertips along the straight edge you will see what I think is the perfect combination of upper and lower arm movements. They cancel each other out in order to produce the straight line.

    In his Youtube videos (or perhaps in his book that I have just bought!) Klinghoffer firmly advocates bowing with a straight arm. He believes that flexing the elbow leads to loss of control, etc, however I disagree with him. With French bow hold the bending and almost straightening of the elbow will use 2/3rds of the hair and 50-75 mm movement of the elbow will add the other 1/3.

    I power the sound vertically with the relaxed weight of my arm and move the bow freely through any length or speed and anywhere along its length because I have lined up my arm movements with the bow direction. More of my weight is thrown forward by my bow hold than if the hold were parallel to the stick. My hand remains relaxed and flexible and I do not have to press with my index finger alone. My pinkie remains curved and the pad rests on the hexagonal. I come to my bow hold by opening from a gentle fist.

  11. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    Before I had any classical experience or took a classical lesson, I subconsciously tried to have a "fancy" pinky that stretched out far. Jeff Bradetich took one look at it, pointed to the inlay dot on the frog and moved my pinky there. There it remains.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.